Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Earth Friendly Flea and Tick Lawn Treatment

Ticks and fleas love shady areas, and we've got a lot of it in our backyard. This year has been particularly bad for fleas and ticks. The pets need to be dosed with Frontline Plus every three weeks, or they get reinfested. Of course this doesn't help me any. I get ticks on my legs just going to hang the laundry on the line.

The problem is our lawn, it's full of fleas and ticks, and I didn't want to use any harmful chemicals , so we are trying natural food grade diatomaceous earth(DE) as an organic flea and tick killer. It works as a dehydrator and asphyxiator, eventually killing pests. The only downside of using DE is that the small dust particles can be hazardous to breath, so a mask would be necessary in order to sprinkle the stuff on the lawn. It also needs to be reapplied if it rains.

I've read that you want to find a natural food grade form of DE, not the one sold for swimming pools. The swimming pool grade DE is very toxic to pets and people. Reportedly, the food grade DE can be used directly on pets and carpets to kill fleas and ticks; however, I'd verify this with your vet. Here is the Material Safety Data Sheet on DE(PDF). Planet Natural has got a 1.5 pound box for $6.50.

I'm also considering an Organic Lawn & Garden Spray with Clove, Thyme, and Sesame Oil. Supposedly it kills fleas and ticks dead, and is safe around pets and children. Planet Natural sells a bottle which covers Covers up to 5,000 sq. ft. for $11.95 bottle.

Dirtworks sells huge bags of DE and other natural flea and tick killers for pets and lawn.

Garden centers are likely to carry DE as well as True Value and Ace Hardware stores, and places like Home Depot. I know Ace will order items for free delivery to the store if they don't stock an item. We use Ace Hardware for many of our organic gardening needs.

I'm trying the DE first; if it works I won't be purchasing the oil spray . I'll update this post soon with the results.


Boondock Ma (Kim's Mom) said...

We've used DE with good results in the past. Only problem, as you mentioned, is the moisture factor. If it gets wet, it's worthless. Be sure your storage area is dry, and don't bother applying it if there's rain predicted on a given day. One thing I really liked about it was I felt I could use it in my garden without worrying about my children's health. Some ranchers actually add it to the feed for their cattle! Not that I'd spoon it on to my kids' cereal or anything ;-) and of course we wash our produce, but good to know it's safe to that point.

I'm also curious about the oil. Will have to research that one a bit!

Alexandra said...

Thanks for the feedback!

Otter Mom said...

My sister uses DE on her yard and she's had very good results with it. She also uses it on her dogs and she says it works better than Frontline or any of the drops you can buy. With anything, research and read the label.

Alexandra said...

Thanks O.M. :)

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